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Michael Mower - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Michael Mower

Executive Director of SUU Aviation / Chief Flight Instructor / FAA Designated Pilot Examiner | Southern Utah University


Specializes in pilot training, FAA regulations, advanced/aerobatic helicopter flight, aviation safety, search and rescue, and lobbying


Michael Mower is the executive director, chief flight instructor, and FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (Helicopter DPE) for Southern Utah University's aviation program. Mower brings his years of service in the United States Air Force to the classroom, enriching discussions and interactions with current students.

During his time in the Air Force, Mower worked in the fuels and cryogenics lab and was the lead instructor for the Honor Guard detachment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. After leaving the Air Force, Mower started a research and development company specializing in advanced metals and cutting-edge heat-treating protocols. Through this research, Mower has authored or co-authored multiple patents.

In 2013, Mower started SUU's aviation program with a small staff and 30 students. Under his leadership, the program has grown to 75 instructors, 25 aviation maintenance technicians, 30 administrators, and 1,000 students. He has a skilled and diverse team that can offer instruction on aircraft safety, maintenance, fixed-wing, and rotor wing. The recent growth of the aviation program has made Cedar City Regional Airport the second busiest airport in Utah. The Iron County Sheriff's Air Operation Division is operated by SUU's pilots. The program's instructors assist in aerial surveillance, pursuit, drug interdiction, and search and rescue efforts.

As a veteran, Mower understands the needs of his student veterans and advocates on their behalf. As an active lobbyist for veterans' rights in Washington, D.C., Mower understands the value of developing mutually beneficial relationships and assembled a team of key senators and representatives. The team Mower has assembled successfully defended veterans' educational benefits for almost a decade and has two pieces of legislation signed into law by the President of the United States.

Mike Mower trained under Chuck Aaron of Hollywood and Red Bull Fame and is now one of the few pilots in the United States that can perform aerobatic flight in a helicopter. These skills have advanced the curriculum for SUU Aviation students and elite pilots from around the world.







Industry Expertise (5)




Airport Services


Areas of Expertise (18)

Aviation Education

Helicopter Flight

Helicopter Aerobatic Flight

FAA Regulations

Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IIMC)

Tactical Flight

Intergovernmental relations

Federal Lobbying

Military/VA Benefits

Veteran Services

Cockpit Research Management

Aviation History

Aviation Safety and Training

Pilot Training

Aerial Search and Rescue

Commercial Aviation

Weather Development Patterns and Aviation Hazards

Physiological, Psychological, & Enviromental Factors on Pilot Performance

Education (2)

Southern Utah University: Bachelors, Interdisciplinary Studies

Southern Utah University: Masters, Interdisciplinary Studies

Accomplishments (6)

Professional Provider of the Year

Southern Utah University

Airman of the Year

United States Air Force

Honor Guard Member of the Year

United States Air Force

Director / Chief Pilot Iron County Air Operations

Partnership with Iron County Sheriff's Department

Director / Chief Pilot Chuck Aaron Advanced Flight Academy at SUU Aviation

SUU Aviation's Chuck Aaron Academy will train pilots to prevent and safely exit unusual attitudes brought on by hazardous weather conditions. Aaron and a select group of SUU's pilots teach others how to navigate these deadly scenarios safely.

FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (Helicopter)

Federal Aviation Administration

Affiliations (4)

  • Iron County Sheriff's Air Operations Division
  • Helicopter Association International
  • Utah Aerospace Pathway Program
  • Utah Rotor Pathway Program

Media Appearances (17)

‘We remember’: How Southern Utah University is paying tribute to 9/11 anniversary

ABC4  online


It has been 20 years since nearly 3,000 people were killed and thousands were injured in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the plane crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. One southern Utah university is doing what it can to make sure those lives lost – in addition to those who served in the subsequent war – are never forgotten. Michael Mower is among those preparing to pay tribute. He is the executive director and chief instructor with Southern Utah University’s College of Aerospace Sciences & Technologies. He had also just finished active duty with the Air Force and was entering into the reserves when the Sept. 11 attacks happened. “I remember, you know, where I was at, when the attacks took place, I was eating a bowl of Cheerios, watching the news, just before I head off to work, and watching this thing unfold,” Mower recalls. “I clearly remember exactly what was going on and thinking, you know, I just come back from the Iraq theater. And, you know, what are we getting into? And what’s happening?”

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What to expect from final NTSB report at 1-year anniversary mark for Kobe Bryant’s deadly helicopter crash

Daily News  online


“If you remove your eyes from the equation and accelerate in a flat line, your brain interprets that as going up. When we fly into a cloud, and everything is white, all sorts of vestibular illusions take over,” Michael Mower, executive director of Southern Utah University’s aviation program, told The News.

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SUU approves creation of new college for expanding aviation program

KUTV  online


“The hard work and dedication of the entire aviation team has transformed aviation training across the globe,” stated Michael Mower, executive director of SUU Aviation Services. “It is this devotion by SUU’s senior administration and Board of Trustees that led to the creation of the College of Aerospace Sciences and Technology.”

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Marshall partners with SUU to explore opportunities in aviation

The Parthenon  online


Aviation can take people almost anywhere, and it has taken Marshall University all the way to Southern Utah University.

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Sundance Helicopters Partners with Southern Utah University for SkyPath Helicopter Pilot Development Initiative

Avaition Pros  online


Sundance Helicopters, Inc., and the Sundance Skypath Program has partnered with Southern Utah University in Cedar City Utah to bring the helicopter pilot development program to the university’s pilot candidate students.

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SUU Aviation Assists In SAR Of Lost Snowshoers

Utah Public Radio  online


Two snowshoers have Iron County Search & Rescue and the aviation program at SUU to thank after becoming lost, after dark in the backcountry of southern Utah, Sunday.

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Lost southern Utah snowshoers rescued by SUU pilots

KSL  online


Search and rescue crews and Southern Utah University pilots found two lost snowshoers Sunday night near Brian Head using night vision technology.

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Episode 29: SUU Aviation - Meeting the Needs of Students and Industry with Mike Mower

Solutions for Higher Education  online

Southern Utah University President Scott L Wyatt and Steve Meredith talk with Mike Mower, the Executive Director and Chief Flight Instructor in SUU's Aviation Program.

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Giving them wings: SUU partnership invites women into aviation

The Spectrum  online


Southern Utah University Aviation Director Michael Mower speaks to press, announcing a partnership with the I Hart Flying Foundation, designed to encourage women to be pilots at the Cedar City Airport Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

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Southern Utah University's Aviation Program Has Students Job-Ready With State of The Art Planes

Good4Utah  tv


Mike Mower is the Executive Director and Chief Instructor of Southern Utah University's aviation program. He says, “We are the only collegiate program that has these brand new SR-20s,” Mower adds, "Flying these at our altitude, it is a smooth flight, it's also one of the safest aircraft out there.”

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Southern Utah University Student Aviators Take to the Skies When Calls for Help go Out

St. George News  online


Southern Utah University’s aviation program is setting the benchmark for aerial support assistance programs across the country as students take to the skies sporting night-vision technology when calls go out for help.

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SUU Aviation Working to Change FAA Curriculum

Good4Utah  tv


Experts from Southern Utah University's Flight Training Program are headed to Washington hoping to change outdated ways aviation students are taught.

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SUU aviation program buys 17 new, safer aircrafts for students

KUTV  online


"The really amazing thing about these SR20's is the safety. Built in parachutes are a big deal for us," Mower said and continued "It allows them [students] to come home safe at the end of the day and that's a really big deal for mom and dad putting their kids through this program."

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Utah Flight Programs Increase Fleets, Partner with Airlines to Meet 'Insatiable' Demand for Pilots

Economic Development Corporation of Utah  online


Bracing for a potential surge of aviation students, Southern Utah University this year spent about $3.8 million on 10 new Cirrus airplanes.

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Aviation Program Expands at Southern Utah University

AV Web  online


Southern Utah University is advancing its aviation program with the purchase of ten new planes from Cirrus Aircraft expected to begin arriving in June. The fleet of Thunderbird-red, fixed-wing planes features the Cirrus SR20 - a technologically advanced, easy-to-fly modern training platform that will prepare both flight instructors and students to fly tomorrow's commercial airliners, military and general aviation aircraft.

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SUU Aviation partners with SkyWest Airlines

The Spectrum  online


“The agreement cements SUU as a premier flight training school and helps us expand our program,” said Mike Mower, executive director at SUU Aviation.

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Pilots Deputized to Aid Iron County Sheriff’s Office

Southern Utah University  online


On March 23 pilots from Upper Limit Aviation (ULA) partnered with Southern Utah University and were sworn in as deputies at the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.

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Courses (13)

PILT 1010 Air Transportation

This course will trace the evolution of the aviation industry from its earliest days through the modern age. Topics addressed include significant aviation events and individuals, aircraft development, deregulation, administrative bodies, organizations and commercial companies that have influenced and/or continue to shape the domestic and international aviation industry.

PILT 1040 Aviation Orientation

This course will orient students to the SUU Professional Pilot Program and career opportunities in the broader aviation industry. The course will cover, among other topics, financial aid, transfer & articulation, pilot training regulations and procedures, key aviation organization such as the FAA and Air Traffic Control, career opportunities in general, commercial and military aviation.

PILT 1420 Aircraft Systems

This course provides a study of the design, construction and theory of operation of basic systems common to fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. Topics covered Include power plant, flight control, fuel, hydraulic, lubrication, airframe, landing gear, instrumentation and electrical systems.

PILT 2050 Aviation Meteorology

A study of atmospheric conditions and their related effects on aeronautical operations. Topics covered include basic meteorological principles/physics, atmospheric properties, weather developmental patterns and associated aviation hazards including thunderstorms, wind shear, turbulence, icing and low visibility, weather observation and forecasting resources, understanding weather information.

PILT 2250 Aerodynamics

Practical application of the laws of physics in the design and operation of aircraft. Specific topics covered include basic forces of flight, airplane and helicopter principles of operation, weight and balance, stability and control, high speed flight and aircraft design and testing.

PILT 2310 Human Factors and Safety

This course examines pilot performance as a function of physiological, psychological and environmental factors. Specific topics addressed include human physiology, training programs, stress, fatigue, spatial disorientation, visual illusions, cockpit resource management, decision making and cockpit design.

PILT 2445 RW Mountain Operations Lab

Students will learn proper techniques for safe mountain flying operations. This course includes practical application under the direction of an experienced mountain pilot.

PILT 2455 External Load RW Lab

Students will learn proper techniques for safe procedures in specialized areas of rotorcraft operations. This course includes practical applications with external loads under the direction of an experienced utility pilot.

PILT 2455 RW Utility Operations Lab

Students will learn proper techniques for safe procedures in specialized areas of rotorcraft operations. This course includes practical applications with external loads under the direction of an experienced utility pilot.

PILT 2465 Night Vision Goggle RW Lab

This lab provides all of the flight and ground training necessary to qualify a pilot to operate an aircraft using night vision goggles. All flight tasks and ground subjects required by the FAA prior to acting as a pilot in command of an aircraft using night vision goggles will be covered. NVG related topics include limitations and flight operations, aeromedical factors, normal, abnormal, emergency operations, performance, scene and terrain interpretation, flight planning, use of external and internal aircraft lighting systems, preflight preparation, and proper piloting techniques during the takeoff, climb, enroute, descent, and landing phases of flight.

AVTN 3510 Strategic Thinking and Lean Management in Aviation Administration

Principles such as Lean Management, Six Sigma Quality, Japanese teamwork, Zero-Defect methods, and Operational Excellence have become part of modern management practices within the Aviation Industry. Students will explore the aforementioned practices and how they compare and contrast with the strategies for applying W. Edwards Deming’s management theory. Students will participate in online project-based learning activities and prepare a final individual project.

AVTN 4890 Professional Aviation Internship

Work-related learning experience carefully coordinated between instructor, student, and employer. The work experience must be associated with aviation.

AVTN 3500 Quality, Innovation, and Systems Thinking in Aviation Administration

Students will explore a series of fundamental strategies for applying W. Edwards Deming’s management theory to improve organizational performance in the Aviation Industry sectors. Students will participate in online project-based learning activities and prepare a final individual project. Students will explore the thinking of Dr W. Edwards Deming, as it applies to improving how any organization functions as a system, within a framework of advancing how they work and learn together, starting with how they think together.